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I’ve lost more than 120 pounds — here are the 6 things that helped

I’ve lost more than 120 pounds — here are the 6 things that helped

The author at the gym.

The author at the gym.
Jennifer Still
  • I’ve lost more than 100 pounds.
  • I did it by following a few things that I don’t hear about super often.
  • I gave myself cheat days.
  • I also made sure to get enough sleep.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

In May 2018, I decided to overhaul my health and make a change from the largely sedentary lifestyle I was leading. I went from being morbidly obese and at risk of developing some serious health conditions to within 10 pounds of being within the “normal” area of my BMI chart, and I’ve never felt better.

Though losing weight isn’t always easy, following some key principles made my journey a bit easier. Here are some things that helped me along the way.

I tracked every morsel that went into my mouth

Keeping a food diary and/or tracking calories isn’t necessarily a new concept when it comes to weight loss, but I went the extra mile by using the app MyFitnessPal to calculate every single thing I ate. And I really do mean everything, down to the smallest ingredient, calorie for calorie.

Doing so allowed me to see exactly what and how much I was eating a day and provided feedback for how balanced my intake was, via the handy macro chart. If I was falling short on protein or going overboard on carbs, I could rejig things a bit to strike a balance.

Without being so intense about tracking, there’s no doubt I could easily have taken in a few hundred extra calories in mindless snacking of a bite or two of this or that throughout the day.

It’s worth noting that although this method worked for me, it won’t work for everyone, especially if you have a history of disordered eating. You should always speak to your doctor before trying a new diet plan.

I followed intermittent fasting

It’s not for everyone, but intermittent fasting – eating only during a certain window of time every day – was a major help for me during my weight-loss journey. I tended to eat between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day, and after that, I was done.

While this certainly isn’t necessary to be successful, it definitely helped me (to the point that I noticed – perhaps coincidentally, I admit – that on the occasions I “broke” the intermittent fasting, my weight loss was temporarily stalled).

I allowed myself ‘cheat days’

I made sure to honor my cravings.

I made sure to honor my cravings.
Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Again, not a new concept, but one that I truly feel was integral to my overall success.

I followed the ketogenic diet for much of my weight loss, and this way of eating requires a very strict approach. That kind of dedication is exhausting, and it was important that I took planned breaks for special occasions in which I could indulge in some of my favorite foods that were no longer part of my daily diet.

While many believe that cheat days are a slippery slope, they provided motivation for me to get back on track the next day, especially because I didn’t restrict myself too much and make it a cheat week.

I focused more on my diet than on exercise

The old adage that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet is true. Though research and professional opinion vary, many experts have said that weight-loss success is about 85% to 90% about diet and only 10% to 15% about how much you work out.

That’s not to say I didn’t work out – I became a five-days-a-week gymgoer and really fell in love with fitness, but I could have worked out for two hours a day and lost nothing if my food wasn’t on track too.

I focused on ensuring that I stayed within my caloric limits and religiously followed my preferred way of eating. That meant more success, whether I got my workout in or not.

I made sure I got enough sleep

Lack and sleep can not only lead to bad habits – you’ll hardly be inspired to cook a healthy meal or hit the gym if you’re exhausted – but your metabolism will also pay the price. The stress hormone cortisol spikes when you’re low on sleep, and things can only go downhill from there.

Needless to say, I always made sure to get my eight hours a night (or at least as close to it as possible).

Sleep is imperative.

Sleep is imperative.

I had a partner in crime

I undertook my weight-loss journey along with my partner, who also shed more than 50 pounds this year. Having someone by my side to cheer me on, celebrate my successes, commiserate with the setbacks, and ultimately partake in the whole journey made a world of difference. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good support system.

I trusted the process

There were times when the weight refused to budge and other times when the scale was inexplicably higher when I knew I’d been eating well and exercising.

It’s easy to get frustrated, but weight loss is not a linear process, and “dieting” also isn’t a quick fix. It has to be a lifestyle change. And trusting that my body would do its thing, in the end, proved right. Stressing wouldn’t have changed the process; in fact, it probably would have impeded it. Instead, I focused on staying consistent, and it worked out perfectly.

Of course, this weight loss may not always be the case, based on a million different factors, but eating healthy and exercising, if you’re doing it right and with the guidance of a professional, can only be a good thing for your health.

Ready to barre it all?

Ready to barre it all?

ALL ballet dancers know what a barre is.
The long handrail is used to gently warm-up the body, gain speed and precision in footwork, increase strength and flexibility, improve balance and build stability when standing on one leg.
Performing exercises at the barre sets the foundation for a strong dancer, and the results reveal itself during center floor work and the rest of ballet class. The more effort that is put into barre work, the more a student will get out of class.
Using the same principles, a number of barre-inspired workouts have emerged in the past decade – of course, the moment a celebrity endorses one (Madonna and Ryan Gosling – yes, even him!), the workout soars in popularity with the masses.
On the Asian front, WeBarre has been slowly carving a name for itself in Singapore.
Founded by Anabel Chew and Linda Tang, WeBarre is a hybrid workout class combining ballet-inspired moves along with the elements of Pilates, yoga, dance and strength training. It focuses on high repetitions of small range movements and is great for strengthening and toning your body.
And no, you don’t need a dance background to grasp the basics.
“People who have a ballet background will find the movements that we do in class familiar and they will pick it up quickly. However, it doesn’t mean the class will be easier for them, as the burn will be all the same!
“A barre class is more fitness-focused, and targets specific muscle groups to fatigue and is designed to be challenging, compared to a regular ballet class that focuses on the choreography, technique and posture,” explains Chew.
Malaysians got a preview of WeBarre recently, with Chew leading the class on a sunny Sunday by the poolside at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Don’t let her petite frame fool you, for Chew gives a killer workout!

The dynamic 60-minute class worked on strengthening and sculpting our bodies through graceful but impactful movements, fuelled by uplifting music and in the company of like-minded barre enthusiasts.
Her workouts are all about “tough love” and a “post-sweat sexy glow” is your reward. For a petite lady (she’s only 1.56m), she gave a killer workout that put the male participants to shame.
She says, “With barre, you don’t have to worry about bulking up. This physique appeals to many women, who want to be slender, build posture and get lean. It targets your entire body, specifically the smaller muscles such as stabilisers in your core and glutes, which are highly under-utilised and weakened in our modern lifestyles.
“You see visible results quickly, and start noticing an increase in your stamina and resistance level – which will help increase your performance in other activities like running and competitive sports.
“For men, after all that working of bigger muscle groups lifting weights in the gym, it is important to mix up the routine with barre. The core and stability muscles must be strong so that you can safely and effectively perform heavy-lifting with minimal tension, maximum ease and postural awareness. It is also great for people who are recovering from injuries or have physical limitations, due to the rehabilitative nature of this workout.”
According to her, an average female can burn 280 to 350 calories in a class, and men, about 30% more.

A musician first

From running cross country to competitive cheerleading in school, fitness has been part of Chew’s life since young, though she says she was “quite chubby” and “heavy-chested” before she started WeBarre, but she never let her negative self-image affect her.
“I used to get lower back pain, to the point where I casually considered getting a breast reduction – to which my mum told me to stop being silly, so I let it go!

Building core strength is important for many everyday functions.

“But strangely, when I started losing weight, I felt quite self-conscious because my bust size decreased significantly, and that was a part of me that I suddenly felt was missing. I got over it soon enough, because the rest of my body was healthy, strong and happy,” she says, laughing.
Chew doesn’t have a ballet background and studied music in university, which meant she spent anywhere from four to seven hours every day practising the flute and rehearsing for performances.
“That made my neck and shoulders tense, so I picked up yoga to release all the tension in my upper body. It was also a good way to destress and focus during the 60 minutes of practice. To get the cardio element, I started doing HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) exercises as they are really time-efficient and I get to sweat,” says the 31-year-old, who was a professional musician for a decade and played in chamber ensembles, orchestras, jazz quartets and as a soloist, before becoming an entrepreneur.
While pursuing music, she found her way to New York City in the summer of 2014. At that point, she had been practising yoga regularly and was looking for studios in the Big Apple to work out in.
Chew recalls: “My friends dragged me to a barre class, saying, ‘Yoga is great but you haven’t felt all your muscles work until you’ve been to barre’. After my first
class, I was hooked. Back then I would consider myself pretty fit physically, but that class just blew my mind – I never felt my muscles having to work like that ever!”
When she returned to Singapore, she tried to find a barre workout to challenge herself. Alas, there was none available.
“One day, the owners of a now-defunct fitness studio said they wanted to bring a barre programme to Singapore, and asked if I’d be interested to train as a part-time instructor. I took up the challenge and signed up for the training. It was there that I met my business partner, Linda.”
Unfortunately, once the duo finished their training, the studio got sold to another owner.
“That’s where Linda and I took a step back, regrouped and chatted about what it’d be like if we introduced barre to Singapore. The stars started to align and in January 2016, WeBarre was born.
“I wanted to create a studio that specialises in barre, to be able to do one modality really well and be the brand that comes to mind every time someone thinks of barre. Also, I was at a period of my life where there were endless possibilities, and when the idea of starting my own barre studio came along, I thought, why not? I know that when I set my mind on something, I push hard to make my dreams a reality,” she says with pride.
Steadily, the two expanded their business and now, have four studios in Singapore and one in Hong Kong, where over 130+ classes are held weekly.
With the workout getting more popular, music has taken a backseat.
“About eight months into WeBarre, I had to make the difficult decision of choosing one over the other, as it was just too much for me to balance both. I have not, and don’t think I’ll ever give up music completely.
“As of December last year, I have been performing at a hotel in Singapore and I’m very grateful that I’m still able to keep in touch with my musical roots,” she says.

According to Chew, an average female can burn 280 to 350 calories in a WeBarre class, and men, about 30% more.

These days, Chew, who confesses to be the biggest advocate for barre, cannot do without taking a few barre classes a week – not counting what she teaches.
“I’ve seen so many of my friends getting injured from exercising, and to me, that really defeats the purpose because I want to be able to perform, stay fit and be in the best shape that my body has ever been.
“Barre is so good for toning, strengthening and injury prevention. Leading up to my wedding last year, I taught 10 to 11 classes a week and took another three classes to stay in shape! To complement Barre, I take flexibility classes because stretching and recovery is also important,” shares Chew who is looking for opportunities to open a WeBarre studio in Malaysia.

What it takes to be Miss USA, according to the 28-year-old lawyer Cheslie Kryst who just won the 2019 pageant

What it takes to be Miss USA, according to the 28-year-old lawyer Cheslie Kryst who just won the 2019 pageant

Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst.

Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst.
Benjamin Askinas/The Miss Universe Organization

On May 2, a 28-year-old lawyer named Cheslie Kryst was crowned Miss USA 2019. She earned her title at the Grand Sierra Resort’s Grand Theatre in Reno, Nevada.

Before receiving her crown, the former Miss North Carolina USA had to compete against 50 other women throughout four show segments: swimsuit, evening gown, final question, and final word. Kryst also spent weeks preparing for the competition, and completed both tireless practice sessions and strict workout routines.

Kryst recently spoke with INSIDER, and shed some light on what it takes to win the nationwide pageant. She also shared some insight into what it takes to actually be Miss USA after being crowned.

Strict workout routines played a big part in Cheslie Kryst’s pageant preparation

“I woke up everyday at 4:45 a.m. and would do a morning workout, Kryst told INSIDER.

Originally, her workout was comprised of a mix of yoga and cycle classes “a couple of times a week.” But as the competition got closer, Kryst kept her focus on cardio.

“I would just do the elliptical or bike for an hour, or hour and a half a day,” Kryst said. “It took a lot to fit that into my schedule, but it worked out well – and I was happy with the results.”

The pageant winner prepared her mind and body equally before competing

It takes much more than good looks to win the Miss USA competition. During the final question and final word portions of the show, contestants are expected to provide thought-out and well spoken answers in response to a surprise question, which can be about a range of topics.

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To prepare, Kryst completed “a lot of training” by answering sample questions in her car.

“I would watch previous Miss USA and Miss Universe competitions, listen to the Top 5 questions, and then pause them, answer, and listen to their answers,” Kryst said.

In addition to her exercise routine, Kryst also maintained healthy eating habits

“Consistency” proved to be key to her diet, which mostly consisted of fresh food leading up to the pageant. She also made sure to avoid anything that’s “really processed.”

Read more: Here’s what Miss USA Cheslie Kryst eats in a day

“For breakfast every morning, I’d usually eat toast with egg and avocado,” Kryst told INSIDER. “I’m obsessed with avocado, even though it has a lot of fat in it. I love it, and it’s good, healthy fat.”

She also favored foods like salad, chicken, and vegetables for lunch and dinner.

Cheslie Kryst was crowned Miss USA 2019.

Cheslie Kryst was crowned Miss USA 2019.
Frank L Szelwach/The Miss Universe Organization

Before the pageant, Kryst took part in a variety of group activities with her competitors

Contestants of the Miss USA pageant are typically in it to win it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make friends along the way. According to Kryst, the competing women were split into groups and sent on bonding trips ahead of the pageant.

“I was part of one of the groups that got to go down to Lake Tahoe,” Kryst told INSIDER. “Seeing the lake, being out there, and hanging out for the day was so much fun.”

“I was also part of the group that got to make s’mores by the fireside at the hotel,” she continued. “I just felt like I was in a lot of fun groups, and the girls were really great to meet.”

According to Kryst, everyone was “welcoming and kind” throughout rehearsals, which followed the group outings.

Though Kryst has earned the Miss USA title, her work is just getting started

Competing in the Miss USA competition is one thing, but holding the title is another. While Kryst has yet to fully map out her year, she does plan on volunteering for an international organization called Dress for Success, which makes sure that “women have economic independence,” according to Kryst.

“Dress for Success means something to me because I remember being in law school and in undergrad, and having to go on interviews, and not knowing what to wear,” Kryst said. “[I was] a broke college student who couldn’t afford really expensive suits, and [didn’t know] what options I had.”

She previously volunteered with their Charlotte chapter while she lived in North Carolina, and “did fundraising, clothing drives, and volunteered for some of their events.”

Kryst also hopes to spend time working on her blog White Collar Glam, which was created to “give some pointers and tips about your office wardrobe.” The website goes hand in hand with her advocacy for Dress for Success.

“After I graduated from law school, I created a blog to give women an outlet where you could look on my website, and figure out what you should be wearing, where to buy clothes, and where you can afford clothes,” Kryst said.

She also aims to help women understand “how [work clothes] should fit,” and answer the fashion questions that she says she remembers having as an undergraduate law student.

17 running accessories we use to make our runs more enjoyable

17 running accessories we use to make our runs more enjoyable

Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.


Nd 3000 / Shutterstock
  • For those who are able, running is one accessible way to get in your daily dose of aerobic activity.
  • While you don’t need much equipment to get started, having the right accessories can make your runs easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable overall.
  • We asked the avid runners on our team to share the accessories they use to make their runs smoother and more enjoyable. Here are the 17 picks they shared.

One of the best parts about running is that you don’t need much equipment to do it – just lace up your sneakers and go.

But, just because it’s a simple activity doesn’t mean it’s always enjoyable or easy. A lot of us hate running. I did for a long time. That was, until I realized there were a few things I could add to my runs to make them more enjoyable. You can’t buy a positive attitude, but being armed with some great accessories to make you feel safer, comfier, and faster just might be the motivation you need.

For me, it starts with a great pair of headphones that let me block out the noises around me and blast the playlists I actually want to hear. Since everyone’s different, I reached out to my cohort of coworkers to see what their favorite running accessories are.

From compression tights that keep your muscles feeling good through long distances to watches that make your runs feel a little less like a chore, these are the 17 running accessories we count on to make our runs more enjoyable.

Garmin Vivoactive Smartwatch


Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 Music GPS Smartwatch, $250, available at Garmin and Amazon

I run with Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 Music smartwatch because it has built-in music storage so I can run without my phone and still listen to music via Bluetooth headphones. It also tracks a lot of key metrics for runners, including VO2 Max, mileage, heart rate, calories burned, pace, cadence, and stride length. Plus, it provides a map of the route I run, thanks to the built-in GPS. – Malarie Gokey, editor

TaoTronics Bluetooth Headphones


TaoTronics Neckband Bluetooth Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling, $45.99, available at Amazon

TaoTronics’ Neckband Bluetooth headphones are fairly affordable for noise-cancelling wireless earbuds, and they sound quite good. The neckband design ensures that they stay in place while I run and the noise-cancellation blocks out most ambient noise. – Malarie Gokey, editor

BioLite Headlamp


BioLite Headlamp 330, $49.95, available at Amazon

Running comfort, for me, means running with peace of mind. I used to wear a basic, flashing LED that clipped onto my shirt, but since testing BioLite’s rechargeable Headlamp 330 for a review, I’ve incorporated it into my workout. It is super-bright for illuminating the road in front of me, but I usually use the strobe function so that I don’t blind drivers. BioLite engineered it to fit comfortably on the head for lost-lasting wear, and the elastic won’t smell even if you sweat profusely. – Les Shu, editor

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 Sneakers


Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19, $130, available at Zappos

Brooks makes the best running shoes you can buy, so I recently decided to try the Adrenaline GTS 19 running shoes, and I love them. They are incredibly comfortable, offer great support, and absorb impact effectively to make running more comfortable on my shins and my feet. – Malarie Gokey, editor

Athleta Panache Non Wired Sports Bra


Athleta Panache Non Wired Sports Bra, $54.99 – $68.00, available at Athleta

As a woman with a bigger bust, it’s always a challenge to find a sports bra that’s comfortable, supportive, and attractive. I’ve finally met my match in the Panache’s Non Wired Sports Bra. It really holds everything in place without making me feel like I’m in a suffocating corset and it’s easy to take off after a sweaty run because it has a traditional bra clasp in the back. – Malarie Gokey, editor

Janji Feather Tee


Janji Women’s Feather Tee, $42, available at Janji

Janji is a running apparel company that supports organizations that provide water to those in need. They also make my all-time favorite running T-shirt. It’s loose without being shapeless, naturally odor resistant, and has forgettable seams. But, by far the best thing is that it’s never, ever too hot – even for cardio I’d previously only do in a tank top. – Mara Leighton, reporter

Under Armour Eclipse Sports Bra

Under Armour

Under Armour Eclipse High Sports Bra, $54.99, available at Under Armour

I’m a 32DD and finding a sports bra I don’t hate wearing has been a long process. An older iteration of this one is my go-to. It provides enough support without using underwire or making me feel like I’m strapping myself into a corset. I put it on and stop thinking about it. My movements aren’t restricted, and it doesn’t cause chafing. – Mara Leighton, reporter

2XU Compress Tights


2XU Women’s MCS Run Compression Tights, $118.68, available at Amazon

2XU made these leggings specifically for runners. Internally, they have selective, anatomically mapped compression to bring more blood to the areas put under the most stress during a run (quads, calves) so you can perform better and recover faster without losing any upfront mobility like all-over compression. While that’s a big perk, I love them equally as much because they feel like a thin second skin. I overheat easily during cardio, and these are the leggings I’d wear for every run if I could afford to. There have been complaints in the past that this pair is see-through (which 2XU responded to by adding denser paneling to the back) but I’ve never had an issue. Find a full review here. – Mara Leighton, reporter

Bombas Performance Ankle Sock


Bombas Women’s Performance Ankle Sock, $16, available at Bombas

I don’t love running unconditionally. If one variable is off (like irritating socks), I can’t force myself to make it to the mailbox. That’s why investing in unreasonably expensive – but far superior – socks makes sense to me. Bombas spent two years developing the perfect sock complete with Y-stitching and blister tabs, and they’re the ones I trust to keep me comfortable for five miles or 13. – Mara Leighton, reporter

Saucony Kinvara Sneakers


Saucony Kinvara 10, $110, available at Saucony

The all-new Kinvara 10 ($110) pairs the best of the old Kinvaras with the best of the newer iterations. They’re ideal for any distance, from 5Ks to marathons, and they feel supportive but not bulky. The Formfit insole is a welcome addition, and the breathable, flexible upper disappears on the run. – Mara Leighton, reporter

I switch between running sneakers, and this pair of Kinvara 10s from Saucony is one of my favorites (I’ve written about them before). They’re super lightweight and are almost fitted specifically to my feet because of the cushioned and contoured footbed. The rose colorway is also a nice light pop of color against my usual all-black workout gear. – Jada Wong, editor

Jaybird RUN Wireless Headphones


Jaybird RUN True Wireless Headphones, $129.95, available at Amazon

These true wireless headphones are a godsend for running – and their small size and battery life (12 hours on a full charge, five minutes in the charging case for an hour of play time) are so convenient I’ve started using them while traveling, too. They’re sweat-proof and water-resistant, but the main selling point for me was the fact that they’ve never fallen out of my ears – or felt like they might – in over a year. – Mara Leighton, reporter

Brooks Levitate Running Shoes


Brooks Levitate Running Shoes, $150, available at Amazon

When I’m not wearing the Kinvara 10s, I like the Brooks Levitate sneaker. It’s heavier than the Kinvara 10s by three ounces, which doesn’t sound like much, but is definitely noticeable for me. It doesn’t bother me, but important to note for runners who might have more sensitive feet than I do. The shoe isn’t as sleek as the Kinvara 10s either, but the wider sole does give me more traction when trail running. – Jada Wong, editor

Anker SoundBuds Headphones


Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless Headphones, $26.99, available at Amazon

My fiancé and I have gone through two pairs of these Anker headphones, and we’ve gifted them to friends and co-workers – it’s that good. For under $30, these headphones can’t be beat.

These headphones aren’t flashy and honestly they don’t have great noise cancelling capabilities, but we really like them for the low-profile design and durability – they’re water resistant, so perfect for sweaty runs and workouts. I also personally use it every day even when I’m not working out to listen to podcasts and music during my commute or when I’m multitasking while talking on the phone; the built-in speaker has been a game-changer for me.

The brand also has a great 18-month warranty and customer service is nice and reliable. – Jada Wong, editor

Apple Watch Series 3

Best Buy

Apple Watch Series 3, $309, available at Best Buy

I bought an Apple Watch originally for fun (a pricey toy) but it has since become my personal virtual trainer that I can’t leave home without. Not only does it track my runs (indoors and outdoors), walks, elliptical machine exercises, swim laps, heart rate, etc., it combines it with other related data to give me a big-picture view of my health. I also like how it gamifies my exercise activity – I must close those daily rings! There are also many downloadable running apps, including “Zombies, Run!” that turns running into an actual game. I’m rocking the older Series 3, which is still great and now more affordable. – Les Shu, editor

Superfeet Insoles


Superfeet Run Comfort Insoles, $49.95, available at Amazon

Like my colleagues, I’m also a fan of Brooks running shoes. But to add extra comfort, or if I need to turn a pair of stylish sneaks into runners, I slip the Superfeet Run Comfort Thin inside my shoes. I’ve been using Superfeet insoles for more than 10 years because I find them to be comfortable and long-lasting. – Les Shu, editor

Fits No Show Sock


Fits Ultra Light Runner No Show Sock, $15.95, available at Moosejaw and Amazon

I recently switched to these socks for running. Fits socks provide extra cushioning at the heel and top of the foot, making my runs a bit more comfortable as my feet hit the pavement or treadmill. I also like how they’re designed to stay snug on my feet, whereas most no-show socks tend to easily slip off. – Les Shu, editor

Fitletic Sport Belt


Fitletic Mini Sport Belt, $19.95, available at Amazon

Nothing makes me lose motivation faster than having to worry about clutching my belongings in my hand during a run. This lycra pouch on an adjustable belt is an easy solution. The material is super stretchy, so it can expand to fit a good amount of items. There’s even an interior pocket to keep credit cards and IDs secure. Plus, it’s waterproof so you don’t have to worry about anything getting ruined if you work up a sweat. – Remi Rosmarin, reporter

Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ fitness routine involved carb-cycling, 12-hour fasts, and military presses

Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ fitness routine involved carb-cycling, 12-hour fasts, and military presses

Scarlett Johansson plays Black Widow in

Scarlett Johansson plays Black Widow in “Avengers: Endgame.”
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images
  • To play Black Widow in “Avengers: Endgame,” Scarlett Johansson had to be in incredibly good shape.
  • Her personal trainer, Eric Johnson, has explained how she got so strong and fit in preparation for the role.
  • Johansson trained like an elite athlete, with a focus on weight-lifting.
  • As for her diet and nutrition, Johansson carb-cycled, meaning she adjusted her carb intake depending on how she was training on any given day.
  • She also followed time-restricted eating, fasting for at least 12 hours a day.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

In the newly-released blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame,” Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, a trained fighter with incredible strength and combat skills.

Needless to say, portraying the character required Johansson to get her body into incredible shape, and her personal trainer has now revealed exactly how she did it.

Eric Johnson is the co-founder of Homage Fitness, a line of gyms in private residences across Miami, New York, and D.C. designed to combine top level fitness with hospitality. He’s also Johansson’s PT.

To prepare for the role, he said the actor focused on strength and functional movement – they took the approach of training an athlete, rather than thinking about aesthetics.

Read more: Here’s why Scarlett Johansson’s personal trainers suggest always eating dark chocolate before a workout

“We treated the process like an athlete preparing for competition,” Johnson told Harper’s Bazaar. “By placing more emphasis on her performance, her physique just followed.”

This manifested itself as mainly strength-training, incorporating aspects of yoga, plyometrics, kettlebells, gymnastics, and Olympic weight-lifting.

Eric Johnson is Scarlett Johansson's personal trainer.

Eric Johnson is Scarlett Johansson’s personal trainer.
Homage Fitness

Medicine ball throws, core work, and bear crawls all featured heavily, but Johnson said Johansson’s favourite moves were mainly fundamental compound lifts, such as pull-ups, deadlifts, and military presses.

Johnson also made sure there was plenty of mobility work involved, and given he has previously told INSIDER he thinks burpees are largely useless, we imagine Johansson wasn’t made to do any.

“We worked to not only challenge her body to adapt, but also stimulate her mind,” Johnson said.

Read more: Scarlett Johansson’s personal trainers say burpees are a waste of time – here’s what you should be doing instead

Of course, if you’re going to train like an athlete you need your nutrition to match, too.

To fuel her fitness, Johansson employed a concept called carb-cycling, which, in its simplest form, essentially means altering the amount of carbs you’re consuming on any given day depending on how much and what type of exercise you’re doing, and thus how much energy your body requires.

“She cycled through days of high carbohydrates and low fat consumption, versus low carbohydrates and higher fat while maintaining protein intake,” Johnson said.

Johansson also ate in a time-restricted window, keeping her overnight fasting window at 12 hours minimum, sometimes increasing it to 14 or 15 hours.

None of this was a quick fix programme for Johansson, though – it took time to build her strength and fitness, and Johnson said she followed this training regime and lifestyle for “a year or so.”

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